Sunday, February 11, 2007

Since Linux keeps coming up

A reader (SB) sends in this riff on our Mac v. PC ads. Maybe you’ve seen it. I hadn’t. Much love, SB.

A guy named Eben Moglen writes in

He describes himself as the “attorney of record” for the Free Software Foundation and says that on behalf of his client he is seeking to redress numerous inaccuracies in my posts about “the kernel, Linux.” First among these is that Linux is only the kernel of what should correctly be called “the GNU/Linux operating system” and that by referring to Linux as “an operating system” I am misleading my readers. Moglen demands that I correct this mistake immediately and send a check for one thousand dollars to the Software Freedom Law Center to cover his expenses, or risk facing the wrath of the “community.” Moglen also insists that from now on I must only refer to Linux as “the kernel, Linux,” or “the Linux kernel.”

But here’s the kicker. Moglen also urges me not to port iTunes to Linux. “The petition to which you keep referring was not sanctioned by the Free Software Foundation. We would never endorse the notion of mixing non-free code with free code. The kernel, Linux, is fast becoming a relic. The Free Software Foundation is working in a most determined manner to hasten this process. We encourage the community to abandon the kernel, Linux, in favor of a truly open alternative. Furthermore, the community has no need of your proprietary programs such as iTunes, so unless you are willing to liberate your code, which I am assuming is not part of your plans, please do not waste your time or ours in an effort to pollute the world of free software by creating non-free programs and inserting them into our pure programs. Such miscegenation will not be tolerated.”

He attached his photo and gives a phone number in New York and says I can call him whenever I’d like. I’m not sure but I think this could be Larry punking me. Has anyone ever heard of this guy? Sounds like a made-up name.

My Little Pony warns me off Linux

So I was all ready to order up the iTunes on Linux initiative but then I got a call from Jon Schwartz. Says he read my blog and he’s like, Dude, you’re asleep at the switch. Linux is over, man. Linux is like 2003 or something. Haven’t you heard? There’s this new GPLv3 coming out and Linux won’t embrace it. But we are gonna use it. So now all the Linux freaks are moving to OpenSolaris. Dude you gotta start reading the message boards and Slashdot and stuff. We’re totally taking over.

Linux is done. Novell made a deal with Microsoft; done. Red Hat forces you to pay through the nose; done. Ubuntu just made a deal with Linspire, and they’re shipping closed binary blobs; done. OSDL just shut down and “merged” (read: disappeared) with some other group. IBM’s pulling back on the money. Stallman and Moglen are doing everything they can to kill Linux in its crib. Torvalds is job-hunting and will probably end up at Google. Even Google, which is the world’s biggest Linux user, is starting to migrate off. The revolution is over, baby.

Or rather, it’s moving to the counter-revolution phase. You know how that always happens? Did you study the French Revolution in college? Oh, that’s right. Anyway, every revolution ends up spawning a counter-revolution. That’s when things get ugly and they drag out the guillotines. Read anything nice about Torvalds on Slashdot lately? That’s what I’m talking about. One of these days old Linus is gonna have to dress in servants’ clothes and sneak out of Oregon in the middle of the night.

And who rules in the Brave New World? Yours truly. The Sun King, dude. So, um, I wouldn’t worry about iTunes for Linux. Now, iTunes for Solaris? That makes sense.

Update on the iTunes on Linux petition

Well they’ve now managed to get nearly 8,000 signatures and at least half of them seem to be from actual people rather than made-up names. Man oh man! Who knew there were so many people using Linux? When I saw this I thought, Ya know, maybe we should do a version of iTunes for Linux after all.

Not because it makes financial sense. I mean, I figure doing the port would take 10 programmers half a year, which is about a million bucks cost to us, then double it cause it’s software and things always go wrong, so you’re looking at two million dollars. At that rate each of these signers would have to spend $250 on iTunes to make us break even. No way that’s gonna happen. First of all because let’s face it, these Linux freaks aren’t exactly big spenders. These are guys who would waste hours, days, even weeks of their lives trying to get some half-assed OS to run on their machines and recognize their peripherals, rather than spend a few bucks and have the work done for them by Microsoft or Apple. (And please, no more letters from you guys trying to tell me that Linux is “better” than OS X. I’ve been making computers since before most of you were born, and I can tell you, categorically, that you know not whereof you speak.)

No, Linux users are the OS equivalent of the early Napster or Kazaa users, the kind of guys who would waste hours online downloading illegal songs and risk getting all sorts of malware just to avoid spending 10 bucks on a CD. And even if they weren’t the ultimate cheapskates, I know for damn sure they’re not going to buy our iTunes songs wrapped in DRM; these guys are the ultimate DRM foes.

So I know what you’re thinking. Why do it? Well, it might be good buzz. Could make us look hip. We could get that weird blonde-haired Eminem kid from the old IBM Linux ads, put him in a pair of iPod earbuds and have him do some spazzo Linux dance. Then the words, “iTunes on Linux” run across the bottom of the screen. Cool, right? Makes us look all open and non-restrictive. Definitely worth tossing two million down the toilet if it would get these Eurotard regulators off our backs.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

It’s "Ubuntu," not "Ubantu," my bad

And hey this stuff is pretty nice. It’s a lot like our interface, only brownish orange. Which is a really super attractive color. Very easy on the eyes. How long until Stallman tries to frig it up? Oh wait, he already has. Meanwhile, would someone please go to the Ubuntu page on Wikipedia and make sure it explains that these guys stole our GUI design ideas?

Linux petitioners say thanks

So we’re getting loads of very angry email and comments from Linux lovers who want to rant about how much OS X sucks and how something called “Ubantu” (is that a real name?) is so much better. Riiiight. Well I must say I’m very impressed by the sophisticated sense of humor among these Linux people. Kind of reminds me of the Yelptards. Wish there were some way we could pit these two incredibly humorless communities against one another. Ideas?

UPDATE: The Linux freaks are blocking links from FSJ with a somewhat unpleasant photograph of Richard Stallman. And they’ve erased all of our names. Talk about ingrates. If you’re really determined to keep adding names, you’ll have to go there on your own. Oh well. We had our fun. Next!

Monday, February 5, 2007

The iTunes-on-Linux petition

Thanks to everyone who signed the iTunes-on-Linux petition. I think we’ve managed to make our voices heard. In case you get bored and want to keep doing this, I’ve put a new item under LINKS (in sidebar at right) so it’s easy to find. Just click on the link and fire away. Feeling bored? Make up a few good names and sign up. There’s no limit, apparently. Let us know what you’ve come up with. Peace out.

UPDATE: The Linux freaks are blocking links from FSJ with a somewhat unpleasant photograph of Richard Stallman. And they’ve erased all of our names. Talk about ingrates. If you’re really determined to keep adding names, you’ll have to go there on your own. Oh well. We had our fun. Next!

Torvalds: I want to do something else for a living Satan: Sorry, a deal is a deal

My OS team has a bunch of open-source BSD freaks on it. Those guys follow all these underground hacker message boards and they say Linus Torvalds is tearing out his hair these days. Apparently he just realized that he’s going to have to spend the rest of his life sitting in his basement cranking out little bits of code for the Linux kernel and dealing with angry weenies from the Free Software Foundation, people he can’t stand in the first place. Docs have doubled his Prozac but he still just mopes around going “Why did I do this? Why? Why? Oh, I should have gone to law school. Or med school. I should have been a radical extremist or something. Instead I’m just another drone for IBM. Or is it Novell? Or Red Hat? Ay, dios mio! How did this happen?”

Reason #1,352 for avoiding Linux

Because the nuts in the “community” can do what they’re doing to Novell — threatening, somehow, to revoke Novell’s license to distribute Linux. Well, Novell, that’s what you get for building your business around a tinker toy OS made by the Dungeons and Dragons crowd. Richard Stallman and the rest of the Bad Smell Brigade will crawl out of their basements and try to ruin your day. And why not? They’ve got nothing better to do. I mean it’s not like they’ve got jobs or anything.

Those Linux petitioners

Just checked the Linux petition to see if you sick bastards were just kidding about posting fake names there. And you weren’t. So far I see the following: Olga Fukyercelf, Ivanna Humpadog, Ima McHoe, Balzac T. Bagger, Peekup Andropov and Jack Meoff. Folks, keep it going. Just shows what a pack of bored tech nerds can do when they set their minds to it! (Thanks also to those who managed to send love to FSJ in the comments. Nicely done.)

UPDATE: Pierre Hauweelee, Leigh Frigtard, Ajay Matharchod, Hugh J. Boner, Sir Humps A Lot, Watson Asfour, Mikeydell Satwat, Katya Balzoff, Miles Long, Bee J. Queen have all now registered too. Thanks folks for supporting the Linux community.

UPDATE #2: Lee Kyo Reem (an Amiga user), Jack Mehoff, Michael Dell and Ben Dover have all now joined as well.